International election watchdog the OSCE says it has been frozen out of next month’s elections in Russia. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe will not be sending its people to monitor voting because, it claims, Moscow has delayed their visa applications.
Last month, the OSCE accused Russian authorities of placing “unprecedented curbs” on its monitoring mission. Russia’s election chief has said the delays to visas were the observers’ fault because they had not handed in the necessary papers in time.
Voting is already underway in some remote parts of the country ahead of the parliamentary ballot on December 2. The United Russia party of President Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win, with one poll giving it a 67 percent share of the vote. Critics say the election will be rigged, something the Kremlin vehemently denies.